Design and fabrication process for a memorial window

Stained Glass

The creation of a memorial window is an age old tradition. Here are a few of the steps involved in the design and fabrication process.

Artist, Donna Edmonson, creates a full-size “cartoon” of the memorial window from the scale rendering we originally produced for the approval of the church. When the drawing is completed, coloured glass is selected and cut to fit each pattern shape.

All of the fine detail is achieved by painting on the glass. This traditional painting technique has been used by glass artists for hundreds of years. The detail is hand painted onto the glass. Here the face of Christ is being painted on a clear antique glass. Flesh tones will be added in next. The painted work will be fired in the kiln to form a permanent bond to the glass.

Once all of the glass is painted and fired, the individual pieces are assembled on the pattern using lead “cames” or channels. The lead is soldered together at every joint on both sides of the window. The window is then grouted both sides with a glazing putty that provides strength and waterproofing. Support bars are added to carry the weight of the panel and prevent deflection.

This traditional lead came method of fabrication produces a stained glass window that will last a century or more.

Originally posted Sept 22, 2011

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